We should get together for friendship with Kat Vellos cover image

Kat Vellos wrote the book We Should Get Together. In this conversation, we explore friendship. Kat is a friendship expert who teaches about friendship through her blog and events and connects people for friendship. She hosts gatherings online as a platonic matchmaker and offers an online community focused on friendship.

Whether you want new friends or to change something about your existing friendships, listen to this conversation with Kat. We explore different types of friendships and Kat shares the four seeds of connection that can help you nurture your friendships.

We recorded this episode in May 2023.

β€ŠIn our English language, we require the word friend to do a lot of heavy lifting and to mean a lot of different things. πŸ“ β€Š

Kat Vellos

Your Challenge Invitation

Think about somebody in your life that you really appreciate being friends with, that you really want to continue building that friendship with, and send them a message today, right now is even better.

Let your friend know how much they matter to you and how much you really want to continue cultivating that friendship and keeping them in your life. Even though you might think, oh, they already know, oh, I don’t have to say it out loud or write it down, they might not know, and it might be something that they really need to hear today.

Contact and follow Kat on Instagram, Twitter, or on her website weshouldgettogether.com.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

Really understanding what our intentions are for friendship is important because the word friend is defined differently by different people. – Kat Vellos

Similar Episodes

Timeline of the Chat

01:38 – What is a friend?
02:52 – Different types of friendship – what do you want?
05:35 – Remote vs face-to-face friendship
06:57 – The Four Seeds of Connection – Remote and In-person friendships
10:09 – Caring for different types of friendships
12:11 – Excuses people give for not making friends
15:46 – One secret to building stronger friendships
20:26 – Friendship Strength in Numbers
24:01 – Helping others connect
27:27 – How Friendship Makes the World a Better Place
32:18 – Invitation/challenge
33:27 – What’s missing about friendship

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In the book [We Should get Together] I talk about the four seeds of connection. So you hopefully have some compatibility, you have chemistry with this person. Those are things that will be similar. Otherwise, why would you then wanna commit to it? – Kat Vellos

I’m not down on the wellness, the self-care, of the alone time. I need it just as much as anybody else. But sometimes I think it’s easier to do that than to take the risk of attempting connection. – Kat Vellos

Transcript of the Episode

Click to see transcript

[01:38] What is a friend?

[01:38] Damianne President: Thank you, Kat for joining me today on Changes Big and Small. How do you define a friend?

[01:46] Kat Vellos: I would define a friend as a positive and committed relationship of choice that two people, let’s say, choose to go into with each other with a degree of enthusiasm, positivity, and commitment per each other. Yeah.

[02:06] Damianne President: I think that’s one of the things that I especially love about friendship, that it’s a relationship of choice. And maybe people can say that’s also true about your partner, but I think it’s also a very generous relationship in that you can have multiple friends as well.

[02:23] Kat Vellos: Exactly. Yeah. It’s not a one-on-one monogamous. It would be silly, right, to say like, oh, well I have a friend so I can’t make any more. So it’s a little bit more, I guess, polyamorous. You can have as many friends as you can maintain.

[02:36] Damianne President: I like the idea that you just brought up that you can maintain, because often I hear people say, I want to have more friends, or I need to find more friends in my life, or something of that nature. But I think often people don’t really have a sense of what they mean exactly when they say that.

[02:52] Different types of friendship – what do you want?

[02:52] Damianne President: Like, what kind of friend are you looking for? I always think about, this meditation talks about this child saying like, yeah, I believe in Jesus, but right now I need a friend with skin on. And so the whole idea of how do you envision your relationship with that person? So if somebody’s thinking, okay, I need more friends in my life, I want more friends, or anything of that nature, what should they be thinking about in terms of the different types of friendship?

[03:18] Kat Vellos: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I would encourage someone in that situation to be more specific, so thinking about what kind of friend do you want? Do you want them to be in person? Is it okay with you if they’re just on the internet and on the phone? Is it someone that you wanna do activities with? Is it someone you wanna have heart to hearts with?

You know what? What do you envision the friendship activities even looking like? How close do you wanna be with that person? Is this like a fun, party friend or is this like a I need to process my therapy sessions with friend, you know, really understanding what our intentions are for friendship is important because the word friend is defined differently by different people. It means different things to different people. And in our English language, we require the word friend to do a lot of heavy lifting and to mean a lot of different things. And so, because it’s so easy to misinterpret or to have differences of opinion about what we mean when we say friendship, it’s really important to be clear about what you are looking for in a friend. Or if you want new friends, plural, are there different varieties that you want those friendships to look like?

[04:25] Damianne President: Yeah, this is making me think about a friend of mine and she’s a close friend, but sometimes she’ll be like, Oh, this person’s your friend, right? Because you had coffee with them. And I’m like, no, they’re not my friend. At least not the way I define friend. I’m very open to having coffee with people and having this kind of casual connection. That does not mean that we’re friends.

[04:45] Kat Vellos: Mm-hmm. And that’s like sounds like an acquaintance, you know, which is a real type of relationship. It’s not an insult to say this is an acquaintance. It’s a different level of closeness and it’s a different kind of casual interaction. And so it sounds like that was an acquaintance for you, not really what you would consider a friend, which sounds like there’s a little higher bar for,

[05:05] Damianne President: Yeah, and I think different people probably have different definitions, like you said, because for me, the people that I count as, When I talk about a friend, I tend to think about those people that are closest to me. And I see the people that I’d take a transatlantic flight for is kinda how I think of it in terms of the level of closeness.

[05:24] Kat Vellos: Yes, definitely.

[05:25] Damianne President: We touched on there are different types of friendship, like remote friendship, is it somebody you wanna be able to talk to on the phone or somebody you wanna be able to do activities with in person?

[05:35] Remote vs face-to-face friendship

[05:35] Damianne President: How are remote friendships different than face-to-face friendships?

[05:40] Kat Vellos: Remote friendships are different in that they have more flexibility in terms of the way that we conceive of them because they’re not tied to a single place or the tangible face-to-face world, like you’re around the corner from them or something like this. I find that there is an ease and flexibility that’s a little bit more spacious because it can be, it can take the shape of anything that we like and it can take up as much space in our day-to-day life as we again have room to maintain with our calendar, with our ability to communicate, variety of asynchronous or synchronous remote formats. And so, there’s something that I’ve actually found a lot more appreciation for, especially in the last three years of the pandemic.

Obviously many of us were maintaining so many of our professional and personal relationships remotely. It’s something that I’ve gained a much stronger appreciation for. While the book that I wrote was clearly targeted at in-person, face-to-face friendships, like saying it’s important to have these in your life; it’s not enough to only do virtual.

I also have a much, much stronger appreciation for virtual and remote friendships as well, now that we’ve had to practice so much of that, even with our friends who might have been close by in the pandemic, but you might have only talked to them from a distance or remotely during the last three years.

[06:57] The Four Seeds of Connection – Remote and In-person friendships

[06:57] Damianne President: Maybe I should have even started with the question of how are they similar, like in what ways are those two still friendships that

[07:03] Kat Vellos: So if they’re similar, yeah, they would have the same traits. Right? So in the book I talk about the four seeds of connection. So you hopefully have some compatibility, you have chemistry with this person. Those are things that will be similar. Otherwise, why would you then wanna commit to it? Right? And if there’s commitment, that’s, again, something that’s similar between them is there’s a mutual dedication to maintaining and growing that friendship. There is going to hopefully be some level of frequency, whether you talk, you know, some people talk to their friends every day. Some people talk to their friends once a month, you know, but there’s some kind of recurring frequency that happens that maintains the friendship. And then the last seat of connection, of course, is proximity. And that’s kind of neither here nor there if you’re talking about remote friendship versus an in-person friendship.

[07:47] Damianne President: For me, I’ve lived in so many different places, and so how much each of those different seeds matters at a particular point depends on how strong. That friendship was like, how much time did we have in proximity to each other where we could develop these close connections before I moved away or before they moved away.

[08:06] Kat Vellos: Exactly. Exactly.

[08:09] Damianne President: But if your friendship is only based like you, for example, during Covid, I did a workshop and I met somebody, we decided to create our own little mastermind together, and I would consider them a friend. Maybe not quite trans Atlantic yet, but more friend than acquaintance and we have met face-to-face once, but we don’t count on meeting face-to-face on any sort of cycle.

 So for myself, I’ve been thinking about this like. What is that kind of friendship where we don’t regularly plan to meet together? It’s based on some shared interests. I don’t want it to sound transactional, but we serve each other in some way and, I kind of make more time for her than for some of my other close friends. So I’ve been thinking about what does that mean about this friendship versus my other friendships?

[09:05] Kat Vellos: It sounds like there’s a mutual commitment in that situation for you both to put in the effort of ensuring that any interaction that you have is not the last one.

[09:16] Damianne President: Yes.

[09:16] Kat Vellos: that’s what’s different than maybe some of the interactions or coffees you might grab with an acquaintance is like maybe with the acquaintance, it’s okay for both people. If like, cool, we had a nice conversation and maybe it’s okay if this is the only time we talk to each other, as opposed to with the friend. There’s not only an expectation that like, this is not gonna be our last conversation, but there’s also an effort made to ensure that it is not the last conversation because you’re both going to follow up, you’re both going to check in. If you don’t hear from the other person, you might get worried. You know, those sorts of awarenesses and almost promises are there towards keeping the friendship going.

[09:55] Damianne President: And that sounds like one of the key things or friendship too, right, that commitment that you talked about earlier. And so still kind of keeping with the idea of remote friends and face to face friends.

[10:09] Caring for different types of friendships

[10:09] Damianne President: You’re an expert on this, so let’s say you move to a new place and so you wanna make friends in that place of people you can do things with face-to-face friends,. But you also want to maintain those close friendships with people that are not in the same place as you, who are remote. What practices do you put in place for those two different types of friends?

[10:31] Kat Vellos: Yeah, so in that situation, advice I would give around practices to have in places to ensure that you’re setting aside some time and attention for maintaining both types of those friendships, so the people you wanna meet in your new town and the people that you have maybe left behind in your old town. Because what can happen, and I’m thinking back to a very specific story, that a long time ago a friend had told me where she had moved to another country and I checked in and it sounded like this very glamorous adventure that she was on and I assumed she was just having a fabulous time.

 We talked on the phone and she was saying, actually we talked on Skype cuz it was that long ago we were using Skype. And she was actually saying that she felt kind of lonely in her new place and she didn’t like it and she actually wasn’t having a great glamorous time because she didn’t know anybody there.

And so one of the ways that she was kind of soothing herself was that she was spending a lot of time on Facebook only communicating with the people she had left behind geographically. And so that was useful in that it provided her access to social support and to familiar faces and familiar friends. There was this comforting presence of talking to people that know you, but at some cost to investing and knowing anybody who was near her, geographically and physically. And so in that kind of situation, if all your eggs go into the bucket of like, well, I already know these people, so I’ll just talk to them online, you might be missing out on the opportunity to meet the people that are right on your block or in your neighborhood or your apartment building, and to really cultivate those new friendships that you need nearby too.

[12:11] Excuses people give for not making friends

[12:11] Damianne President: When we talk about investment and what it takes to actually make friends, what are the common excuses that people give?

[12:21] Kat Vellos: In the book I have a, a long category of all the excuses people give. They’re like, I wanna do this, but that I wanna do this, but that, I call it the long list of big butts cuz it’s like, but this, but that, but the other, and they really go into different categories of things from, uh, say like career demands.

They’re like, oh, I, but I work too much. My schedule is too busy, uh to like, I wanna spend more time actually building my career and, and, uh, taking classes say about professional development. And so I wanna invest my time in that instead of investing my time in friendship. There’s also a huge Category here in adulthood, which has to do with the investment people make in growing their primary romantic relationship, or if they choose to have kids, you know, cultivating that little family. That takes a lot of time and energy. And so sometimes that’s where the energy and attention goes because that’s their priority and it takes more priority than friendship.

Sometimes, now as well, there’s a lot more. Emphasis on people having self-care time, right Time for yourself. And I’m certainly not opposed to self-care. I’m an introvert. I need lots of time for myself too. But sometimes people are maybe too much going with the comfort of like, I’ll just be by myself. You know, I’m just gonna have another bubble bath by myself. And it’s like, maybe the thing that would feel more nurturing is actually to have a really good conversation with a friend.

And so, again, I’m not down on the wellness, the self-care, of the alone time. I need it just as much as anybody else. But sometimes I think it’s easier to do that than to take the risk of attempting connection.

[13:53] Damianne President: Yeah, I was actually thinking about that this weekend, about the intentionality piece and also the different types of investment because I have a friend visiting. And she was saying, oh, do you wanna go out and meet some other acquaintances, friends of hers, acquaintances of mine. And I was like, Hmm, I think I’m just gonna stay home. And I was observing this behavior in myself because it was like two or three times on the weekend where I kept making the choice to stay home, just doing some self-reflection and being like, okay, Damianne, is this really what you need right now?

Because like you said, that you’ve had a long week and you just need some alone time and recharging time. Or are you distancing yourself from social opportunities where it would actually be helpful for you to go out? And so I think that kind of., Self-awareness, interrogation can be -interrogation sounds harsh, um, reflection can be helpful to see what would actually be beneficial for us so that we are valuing our needs to be alone, but also to be in community, in social settings with other people.

[14:55] Kat Vellos: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And it sounds like you had a really high amount of self-reflection, self-awareness, and even the self-questioning of, am I being avoidant right now? Am I choosing to be avoidant for some other reason I’m not acknowledging than just the surface reason of like, I’m just gonna stay home, chill out by myself.

 Maybe if someone’s in that situation where they think, Hmm, maybe I’m being a little avoidant, then it’s worth it to take that risk to reach out and go do something that might be social and might also be just as nurturing.

[15:23] Damianne President: Yeah, and I think that’s especially true for introverts and I identify as an introvert.

[15:27] Kat Vellos: Same.

[15:28] Damianne President: it’s like I love my own company and it could just be so great to just sit home all weekend and read a book if nobody else makes the overtures. But we are social creatures too, and so I have to remind myself of that at times.

[15:44] Kat Vellos: Yes, yes.

[15:46] One secret to building stronger friendships

[15:46] Damianne President: One of the things that you mentioned in the book is that group friendships are actually stronger than one-on-one friendships, and that can be really helpful when you’re making friends. Why is that?

[15:59] Kat Vellos: Yeah, and I wanna contextualize that comment around it being stronger. It’s not saying that they’re better than one-on-one friendships, but it’s specific to the context where you are wanting to maintain friendships. And in that situation, a group can be a stronger, more fruitful way to do that because what you get then is each member of the group is going to be maintaining the momentum of the friendship.

So there’s less pressure on like say in a one-on-one thing. It’s like, well, it’s either you or me, the ball’s in your court or the ball’s in mine, and if both of us drop it, then it’s done. Whereas if you have a group of three or four or five or even six people who are in a group friendship, then there’s so many more opportunities for someone who’s in that friendship to repaying the group for reengagement.

And so it’s a lot easier to carry something if like six people are holding it or four people are holding it, then if just two people are. So, in that way, it’s stronger in that the likelihood of reconnection, the likelihood of reengagement is just higher because there’s many more people to share that responsibility.

Responsibility sounds like, oh, it’s like a big, heavy thing. It’s like not a big heavy task, but it truly is an awareness, a dedication, and some kind of responsibility to be like, oh yeah, we’re gonna reconnect. I’m gonna reach back out. We’re gonna reping each other. And so, that work is just easier to share when more people are doing it.

[17:18] Damianne President: As you mentioned about the word responsibility, I think sometimes we can get in our own way because we think things should be easy. Like, oh, you mean I actually need to make an overture? Like I need to, I need to consider, okay, I need to reciprocate. Like I need to have a conversation about how often we wanna meet or what my expectations are in this kind of relationship. I don’t think we have to frame it as hard work just because it’s work, right. And

[17:47] Kat Vellos: Certainly.

[17:48] Damianne President: yeah.

[17:49] Kat Vellos: Yeah one of the interesting things that I observed too with a lot of the people that I’ve talked to in this work and who’ve come to my programs is that when there is an imbalance in the effort exerted to cover that responsibility of maintenance and making those overtures, it’s unfortunately a place where some small resentment can build up. Where if there’s one or two people who are always doing the reach out, always doing the follow up, always doing the, like, let’s see each other again, and the other person or people is just kind of hanging back, never really reaching out, just waiting to be asked, they may not realize that it can be interpreted as a lack of responsibility, a lack of dedication, and a lack of care for the person on the other end who’s like, Hey, you know, I would really like to be reached out to. I would really love to be invited to stuff too. Why is it always on me? And so that kind of imbalance is unfortunately a place where sometimes some tension or disappointment can creep into a friendship when that isn’t shared.

[18:48] Damianne President: Listeners may have already heard me tell this story, but I remember that I had a friend who , we used to work together and we would do, we would do things together multiple times in a week. And there was maybe a span of a week or two weeks where she asked me at least three times to do something and I said no, because I was busy.

I had other things to do, and at some point I noticed a shift in our relationship. It’s hard to know if it’s because it was my own perception because I was feeling guilty for saying no. Or if there was really something, some sort of barrier between us. But I noticed, I felt something different. We actually had to have a conversation like, Hey, I know I’ve said no the last few times you’ve asked me out, and please don’t stop asking me out. Let’s schedule to do something next week. It’s just a really busy week. I think just naming things sometimes it’s easy to just let it pass and naming things.

[19:42] Kat Vellos: Yeah, you’re absolutely right there, and that shows your mentalizing ability to empathize with how she might interpret your declining the invitations and putting yourself in her shoes enough to say, Hey, I know I’ve said no, but I still want to see you, is so important so that that seed of doubt doesn’t really like plant for the other person.

[20:06] Damianne President: Yeah. And I also hear sometimes friends say, oh, they’ve stopped inviting me. Right? And it could be because you’ve said no, and they just think they’re saving you the trouble. And

[20:15] Kat Vellos: right.

[20:16] Damianne President: they’re like, invite me next time please. I Think just so many things could be a little bit easier with some more communication.

[20:24] Kat Vellos: Absolutely. Mm-hmm.

[20:26] Friendship Strength in Numbers

[20:26] Damianne President: One thing that I hear people talk about often is, oh, going on a girl trip. I know some ladies, a group of four and every year they go on a trip and I was always like, oh. Sure, I’ve gone on trips with girlfriends, but I often feel like I’m the glue that kind of holds that relationship together . It’s like there is me and two other people and sure we’ll go on a trip together, but it’s not something we can plan every year and I wonder, are there any special benefits? If we don’t have that kind of friendship in our life, are we missing out on something? Is that, I’m bringing FOMO to the conversation here, but…

[21:05] Kat Vellos: You’re only missing out if you feel like you’re missing out. Sometimes you’re missing out and you’re like, really glad to not have to do that thing. And that’s the joy of missing out the jomo. And so in that case, I think it depends on what your appetite and wishes are truly.

 For some people, something like a girl’s trip or a friend’s trip feels like a dream. They’re like, oh, I really, really want that. I’ve never had it. For other people, they’ve had it and they’re like, oh my God, it’s not for me at all. I’m not someone who travels well with a bunch of people, and so they’re like, don’t wanna do it, you know?

So if you haven’t done it and it feels like something that you wanna do, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying it out to see, whether it’s by organizing and inviting people or by telling other people that, you know, hey, I would love to be invited. I’ve never had a chance to do something like that.

Another way to do it if that feels too vulnerable or there aren’t people in your life who wanna do that, is to actually like, add yourself to other retreats and groups that are organized by some organization or company, and you just like buy your ticket and you come, and then you get to meet new friends on that gathering, you know, on that journey together.

[22:11] Damianne President: What do we gain from ourselves in those situations where we have a chance to meet new people, where we could develop some new friendships?

[22:21] Kat Vellos: Mm-hmm. Well, one of the most potent, powerful things about it is that when you are in a situation, like say a retreat or a trip together with people where you are meeting new people in a completely different context than the rest of your life, is that you’re completely free of the distractions and obligations that would be with you at home.

You also are generally doing many of the friendship building activities. That are the strongest for bonding people. So that includes things like sharing meals together, having little adventures together, having the opportunity to form new shared memories together. And you also generally, have more flexibility with your schedule than you might have when you’re back at home working full-time.

So if you’re on a trip, it’s like, cool, you have lots of free time so you can sit and have a long, rambling conversation, you know, by the pool or something, because you don’t have as many demands on your attention. One of the most powerful things about this is that it gives you the time to really log a lot of hours with a new friend very quickly, often, much, much more quickly than you can at home when you are subject to your work, your life, your demands, your adult obligations.

And so all of those hours that you log very early with a new friendship really do a ton to support the ongoing existence of that friendship over time. This is in the chapter that I talk about with hydroponic friendship. This is one of the things is like having a much more scaled up experience of closeness in a concentrated amount of time, like a shorter amount of hours, is one of the most powerful things that you can do to ensure that a new friendship lasts.

[24:01] Helping others connect

[24:01] Damianne President: One of the blog posts that I read by you was about how poorly we connect people sometimes, how we just send this email like, Hey, we think you two should meet. Then we pull out of the conversation and people have to figure out like why is she putting us together? What are we supposed to do here?

[24:20] Kat Vellos: Uh huh.

[24:21] Damianne President: And I think that as we go for healthier friendship lives, for broader, wider, whatever the word we wanna use, friendship lives, one of the things that we could do is be stewards for other people and help connect them to friends. So what are a couple of tips we should keep in mind to do that more?

[24:42] Kat Vellos: So for anyone who’s listening who’s like, why are they laughing about this, what are they talking about, it’s a blog post on my website where I talk about the Ding Dong Ditch email introduction as opposed to the double opt-in email introduction. The metaphor there is you would never ring someone’s doorbell, leave a stranger standing on the doorstep and then run away. But that’s what happens when you make an email introduction that neither person knows is coming and neither person has opted into necessarily, or that both people haven’t opted into. And we need to stop doing this to people because it is, um, just read the blog post. I get into long detail about it,

[25:18] Damianne President: I will share it in the show notes.

[25:20] Kat Vellos: And so one of the much, much better ways to do this, which is that double opt-in, is that it gives both people the chance to say yes, that this is something that they want. And people generally are more likely to follow through on something that they’ve opted into and said yes to in advance as opposed to a total surprise that they did not opt into.

And then the other thing is when the introducer say like yourself, who’s in the middle, who wants to connect these people, what you get to do is really like grease the wheels and like warm them up for each other. By then, when you make that introduction, you get to like share like, oh, this is person A, and they’re so fabulous about X, Y, Z, and they do this exciting thing. And then here’s person B and they’re such a wonderful person because X, Y, Z, wonderful traits about them. And so you really gas ’em up. You really like give them like all these good vibes. And so both person feels like, wow, I’m so flattered. And then they get to understand like what the benefits and joys are of knowing that other person on the other side.

And because they’ve both said yes to meeting, there’s this more mutual enthusiasm and a higher likelihood that they’re going to follow through and know where to pick up the conversation. They know what to do with each other now as opposed to it just being like, What am I supposed to do here? Does this person want something from me? I don’t even know who they are. What is this for? Which is often how the Ding dong ditch email intro leaves people feeling,

[26:37] Damianne President: I have had all of those thoughts when one of those has happened to me, and I don’t think any of them has been successful so far. It’s been like,

[26:45] Kat Vellos: nope.

[26:46] Damianne President: I don’t really know what, like maybe they would be a good friend, but I don’t actually know anything. It’s like people who try to set you up on a blind date, but they’re just like, you should meet and they don’t tell you anything about the person. Or why do you think you might be a good match? Always a no for me.

[27:00] Kat Vellos: No, it’s not enough to go on. It’s kind of like, do you wanna come with me to this restaurant? And you’re like, what kind of food? I’m like, they just have food. Sit down, eat it. And you’re like, I don’t even know if I want this. Like, what? What are we doing here?

[27:12] Damianne President: Yeah, so definitely I invite listeners to check the show notes and go and read that blog post. There are lots of other great blog posts on there as well. So give them a read. You have a great sense of humor that comes through as well, ka.

[27:25] Kat Vellos: Thank you.

[27:27] How Friendship Makes the World a Better Place

[27:27] Damianne President: So I want to leave listeners before more expensive view of friendship. How does friendship make the world a better place, not just us, indivdually.

[27:38] Kat Vellos: Mm-hmm. So there’s two big ways here that friendship is making the world a better place. One is that when we have more friendships and more like I would just say, a friendly attitude towards life and towards community, we make our existing communities that much stronger because instead of regarding each other with doubt or suspicion or just coldness, right, we create warm and interesting and friendly environments to be in, right? So that’s just like a nicer thing to experience as human beings. And on a grander scale, this helps to reduce the overall sense of isolation and loneliness that, unfortunately, is so rampant in our society. Half of Americans feel lonely on a regular basis, and the more loneliness and isolation people feel, it’s not just a bad feeling emotionally or mentally. It’s also really bad for physical health. And so this takes a toll in the levels of heart disease and inflammation and dementia and and early morbidity that we experience. And that’s actually physical health.

Cause there’s a medical health cost for our society on a public health scale when there is this pervasive sense of loneliness and isolation .And additionally, one of the other negative things about it is it can lead to more polarization, which we’re already experiencing a lot of fear, a lot of fear, a lot of distrust, and further widening of this gap between people where instead of approaching each other with curiosity or empathy, there’s just total fear and kind of pushing away others, anyone who seems like an other.

And so all of this is really not great for the future of humanity. And so another really good reason to not just invest in cultivating individual friendships in your life, but honestly like making your community a more compassionate place for everyone.

[29:22] Damianne President: Yeah. On your website, we should get together.com. I already talked about the blog post there. That’s where you can go listeners to read all of the blog posts. The first time I visited your website, was probably a couple of years back. One of the things you’ve started offering are platonic matchmaking events.

[29:42] Kat Vellos: Yeah, so.

[29:43] Damianne President: You’ve revamped your website and it looks beautiful

[29:45] Kat Vellos: Oh, thank you.

[29:46] Damianne President: So tell listeners about your platonic matchmaking events.

[29:50] Kat Vellos: Right. So this is an event that I do called here to Make Friends that basically gets people together who are all looking to make new friends in your life. And I do a really comprehensive survey of each person before they come in. And then with the answers that you supply in your survey, I will match you with the people who are also attending that are the best fit for you based on what you each say that you’re looking for. So it’s like taking that double opt-in intro to the next level, which is like, here’s really, uh, I’m a friendship expert. I read this book about it, and you tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll, I’ll help you find the people that are in this room that you really need to talk to.

And so that is the Platonic Matchmaking event. It’s definitely, I describe it on the website as like, this is not a one night stand for friendship. It’s not meant to be a one time meeting. It is for people who want to take this introduction and really run with it and really keep building after that gathering, knowing that you’re already at a higher likelihood to succeed because of the intentionality in who you’re matched with.

So it’s not random, like going to a random meetup and you’re like, I don’t know any of these people. I don’t know anything about them. It’s like, I’m gonna

[30:56] Damianne President: talk about?

[30:57] Kat Vellos: Exactly. Exactly. Um, so that’s the event. It’s called Here to Make Friends. If folks want to find out the next time it’s happening, they can subscribe to my newsletter or I also send invites to other kinds of gatherings and also Connection Club, which is my membership community.

[31:12] Damianne President: And are those all in-person gatherings?

[31:15] Kat Vellos: These are all virtual. So, started both of these during the pandemic and because so many of my readers are around the country and around the world, we have members who joined from all over the place. And so, for the platonic matchmaking event, when people really do wanna meet someone who’s like also in their state or in their city, I do my best to match them with that. But sometimes, as I’ve told people at the gathering before, sometimes the person that you are most compatible with actually lives across the country from you. So given the choice between matching you with someone nearby that you’re not compatible with, and someone across the country that you are compatible with, I’m gonna go with compatibility.

I did this in our March event, most recently. And these two women, like within minutes, they were like, oh my God, we’re new besties. Thank you for matching us even though we’re in different, you know, coasts and they are off to a beautiful, beautiful friendship. It’s one of my favorite success stories cuz it was a risk and I went into it knowing like this is a risk. I know that they’re really far away, but it was absolutely the right thing to do. And they were like, Oh mg. How did you know we were gonna be besties? So, yeah, that can happen too.

[32:18] Invitation/challenge

[32:18] Damianne President: I always like to give people an invitation of some sort of action that they can take. Do you have an invitation for listeners of something they could do to foster their friendship lives?

[32:29] Kat Vellos: Yeah, so one thing that I would encourage people to do to foster their friendship life is to think about somebody in your life that you really appreciate being friends with, that you really want to continue building that friendship with and send them a message. Today, not next week. Don’t forget about it till tomorrow.

Send them a message today, right now to really let them know how much they matter to you and how much you really want to continue cultivating that friendship and keeping them in your life. Because even though you might think, oh, they already know, oh, I don’t have to say it out loud or write it down, they might not know, and it might be something that they really need to hear today.

[33:11] Damianne President: I need to hear that today because there has been a friend that has been on my mind for the past week and I keep thinking, send them a message and somehow another day goes by and I do not. So I will do that tonight. Thank you for the invitation.

[33:26] Kat Vellos: Excellent.

[33:27] What’s missing about friendship

[33:27] Damianne President: What has been missing in our society and culture on the topic of friendship? From your perspective, is there anything you want people to reconsider?

[33:36] Kat Vellos: Yeah, it’s something that I think about a lot and that I honestly anticipate we’re gonna see a lot more of in the coming five to 10 years, maybe 5, 10, 20 years. And it’s a reevaluation of the way that we make our quote unquote adult life choices. And seeing the way that prioritizing friendship will actually become a much bigger part of that.

And one of the primary ways that I anticipate we might see more of this is in the choices that people make around how and where they live, particularly with ideas around co-housing with ideas around intentional community. I’m very, very curious to see how the renewed appreciation for friendship will affect the way that people choose how and where they live with each other.

[34:26] Damianne President: I was just talking to a friend and I said, like in my dreams, all of my other friends will live on the same street as me, and when we all retire, we don’t need to live in that same house, but I think the same street would be great.

[34:39] Kat Vellos: So.

[34:40] Damianne President: I love to consider how we can rethink families, chosen families, which for me, my friends are really part of my chosen family.

[34:51] Kat Vellos: Yeah, definitely.

It’s specific to the context where you are wanting to maintain friendships. And in that situation, a group can be a stronger, more fruitful way to do that because what you get then is each member of the group is going to be maintaining the momentum of the friendship. – Kat Vellos


When there is an imbalance in the effort exerted to cover that responsibility of maintenance and making those overtures, it’s unfortunately a place where some small resentment can build up. – Kat Vellos

About the Author
I'm a curious problem solver.

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